Choose This Day Whom You Will Love
34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn
“‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own
37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”
Agitation and Accord
From the moment a person chooses to believe God and follow Jesus, their life will be irrevocably changed. People that they once had great relationships with may now become their bitter enemies. War will ensue where peace had prospered. And although we are told that, to the best of our ability, we should be at peace with everyone, we will encounter people who view our change of allegiance from Satan (and the world) to God as a declaration of insanity and hatred towards them.
Many people will not be able to understand that disciples of Christ are not people who are now members of a cult. In their minds, that is how they are perceived. One moment, they are drinking, carousing, swearing, doing everything that everyone else is doing (right or wrong), and suddenly they become Mr. or Mrs. “goody-two shoes”, declining to participate in activities once considered dear, acceptable, and pleasurable by everyone else.
In the eyes of the world, you have become an enemy of the state – your very actions now show that not only can you not be trusted because you are changing, but that someone or something has
remarkable remarkably changed your life, and in their eyes, usually for the worse. They don’t want to know what it is, because they may begin to get “sucked-in” and have to give up their way of life. They may also be concerned that in the grey areas of life that they live, you may now have to “rat them out” if they do something that is a bit unlawful.
In their eyes, you have declared war on them and your relationships.
Family can turn Foul
Even the most stable of relationships can be affected. Jesus lists several familial relationships that may be strained or even broken because of your sudden love of God:
- Fathers and Sons
- Mothers and Daughters
- In-laws and their children’s spouses
Fully expect there to be some resistance by any who have not given their lives to Christ. Most people in culture believe that family comes first. And when you give your life to Christ, they may feel as though you have broken this “unwritten” rule of relationship. The fact is, when you give your life to Christ, you are – in effect – changing your allegiance from your biological family to your spiritual family.
Love the Lord
Your identity has now moved from your biological family to your spiritual family:
48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
Additionally, we are to love Christ more than anyone or anything else:
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.”
In this short passage, it seems to indicate that we must hate our family. This is not the case! This is a form of hyperbole – Jesus is merely pointing out that our love for Him should be so strong and secure that our love for our other family members should look like hate in comparison. We are to love them, but we are to love God even more!
Bear your Burden
This next part of the passage is very similar to the instructions that Jesus gave to His disciples elsewhere:
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
We are to bear our burdens and do so with joy. The Lord God Almighty has replaced our heavy burden of trying to earn our way into Heaven through good deeds (impossible) to merely believing upon the finished work of Christ on the cross for our sins. Grace and mercy are ours if we decide to accept them. And in doing so, we must be obedient to God and His word, for we do not wish to rebel against the one who gave
their lives His life for ours!
And while obedience to God (which some call works or legalism) does not grant entrance into the kingdom of Heaven, it does show that we love God, even more than our very own lives. For if we love our lives (the way that we want to do things, living in a way that pleases us rather than pleases God) we will lose them. If we lose our lives (living them in such a way that they are pleasing to God, regardless of the consequences and outcome of that level of devotion to Him) for His sake, we will gain them:
23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: Am I living my life in such a way that, by example, it is a powerful witness to how much I truly love God?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You have given me eternal life through the shed blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Help me to live life in such a way that it is a powerful witness to others of You and Your word. Help me to witness in both actions and words, that both would be in harmony and unity with Your will. Help me to overcome any sorrow or anger when others who were once considered my friends turn against me because of my love for You. Help me to have a heart of compassion towards them, and I pray that You will powerfully prepare the soil of their hearts so that the seeds of salvation would take root and flourish in them. Help me to always remember that You come first, no matter what. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?
This blog has been edited for clarity, spelling, and other errors.